Monday September 1st, 2014

It’s Monday! What are you reading?imwayr

Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read. You are guaranteed to find something new to add to your list.

Lots of picture books in my reading week. The ones I loved:

The Girl and the Bicycle by Mark Pett

I always think that when I read a really fantastic wordless title that I should have many words. But my review is just about raving. This book has everything I love, love, love about picture book magic. Sigh. Soar. Divine.

 The Girl and the Bicycle #IMWAYR September 1st 2014 There's a Book for That

Mr. Frank by Irene Luxbacher

I always love books about connections between grandparents and grandchildren. This book is nostalgic and tender. Just lovely.

Mr. Frank  #IMWAYR September 1st 2014 There's a Book for That

Give and Take by Chris Raschka

Well, well, well . . . This book holds some great potential for some fascinating philosophical discussion inside of its 32 pages. How far can greed go? What is selfish? Is there a line? What about giving? Can we give too much? Such an interesting little book.

Give and Take  #IMWAYR September 1st 2014 There's a Book for That

My Pet Book by Bob Staake

Bright, book adoration. What can be better?

My Pet Book  #IMWAYR September 1st 2014 There's a Book for That

Julia’s House for Lost Creatures by Ben Hatke

This book went on a wish list of mine after reading some great reviews. Now I have read the book and am sure I need to get it into my classroom! Delightful is the best way to describe this title. I adore the unique creatures. I am impressed by Julia’s problem solving finesse. And who doesn’t love a journey into someone else’s imagination? Such fun.

 Julia's House for Lost Creatures  #IMWAYR September 1st 2014 There's a Book for That

I’m My Own Dog by David Ezra Stein

I did a lot of book store therapy this week. Not book shopping because that is not currently in the cards but bookstore “being” – perusing titles, recommending to friends, making lists. I actually laughed often while reading this book. And I need some laughs. A book that throws the usual “human = owner animal = pet dynamic” on its head. Giggles are underrated.

I'm My Own Dog  #IMWAYR September 1st 2014 There's a Book for That

Mr. Brown’s Fantastic Hat by Ayano Imai

I loved the illustrations in this book. An incredible hat that grows to accomodate a number of birds come to nest. Themes of loneliness, making friends, growing community.

Mr. Brown's Fantastic Hat  #IMWAYR September 1st 2014 There's a Book for That

I also read some fantastic nonfiction titles:

A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams written by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet

Everything about this title is inspiration. What a story, first of al,l of a poet that had to share his perspective with the world. This book is full of art and words and images. It nudges the reader – go . . . write . . . share . . . create. A beautiful, beautiful book.

 A River of Words  #IMWAYR September 1st 2014 There's a Book for That

Who Was Here? Discovering Wild Animal Tracks by Mia Posada

Loved the guess and read to find out aspect of this story. Would be perfect to share a few pages at a time.

Who Was Here?  #IMWAYR September 1st 2014 There's a Book for That

Bizarre Dinosaurs: Some Very Strange Creatures and Why We Think They Got that Way by John Updike and Christopher Sloan

Whoa dinosaurs are wild creatures! This title shares photos of fossils and digitally modeled images along with scientific explanations of why dinosaurs were structured the way they were. Fascinating.

Bizarre Dinosaurs  #IMWAYR September 1st 2014 There's a Book for That

I am sick of typing it so you must be sick of reading it but the mess of BC Education is still happening. We still have no contract. The mediator declared an impasse. Tomorrow is NOT the first day of school as it should be. So my reading time has continued to be interrupted by things like remembering to breathe. I am almost finished and thoroughly enjoying Revolution by Deborah Wiles. Hoping to be able to escape into more books this week after picket line shifts and beginning to home school (temporarily I hope) my own children who should be beginning Grade 7 tomorrow.

Happy Reading to all of you. Thank goodness for the land of books!

Reading Goal Updates: 

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 60/100 novels complete

Goodreads Challenge: 406/650 books read

#MustReadin2014: 20/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 104/65 complete

Monday February 3rd, 2014

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

IMWAYR

Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read. One of the very best ways to discover what to read next!

I celebrated many happy #booklovish things on my classroom blog this week. Read here for a few smiles (especially if you have read Rump by Liesl Shurtliff).

My favourite picture books (both fiction and nonfiction) reads of the week:

Daisy Gets Lost by Chris Raschka

The sequel to A Ball for Daisy which won the Caldecott Medal. I know not everyone loves Raschka but I really do. And I think that this title is so special. It completely captures the feeling of suddenly realizing you are lost and the absolute joy of being found.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Lucky Ducklings written by Eva Moore and illustrated by Nancy Carpenter

This is based on a true event where a bunch of little ducklings did get lost down a storm drain and had to be rescued. Wonderful illustrations. Well written repetition. A perfect title for reread after reread.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Voyage written by Veronica Salinas and illustrated by Camilla Engman

A book that definitely needs more than one read. This one is philosophical and contemplative. How do we face what is new? How do we begin to belong? How are we understood? How do we manage the unknown? What makes us feel a part of things? How do we extend compassion and welcome to others? All of these questions are addressed as a little duck finds itself in a new place and moves through a range of emotions from confusion and fear to joy and calm. Would children navigate this book on their own? Not sure. I think it would be best in a read aloud/discussion situation.

The Voyage #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

My Elephant by Petr Horáček

Often for little ones, it seems everyone is too busy for play and fun. This is the case for the boy in this story. Grandma and Grandpa are often occupied but his elephant is never too busy! Elephant and boy get up to all kinds of imaginative antics.

My elephant #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Questions, Questions by Marcus Pfister

Any book which inspires wonder and questions gets points in my world. Questions about the natural world and some stunning illustrations – like the one of the whale with this text:

Does a whale make up a song so other whales will sing along?

This would be a wonderful mentor text for children’s own natural wonderings . . .

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Under the Snow written by Melissa Stewart and illustrated by Constance R Bergum

It really is one of nature’s most interesting mysteries and magic – where does everything go in winter? How do animals survive? What do all of the creatures we see at other times of the year do all winter long? Children often know some things about hibernation – but what else might happen during the cold, cold winter? Which creatures really do sleep winter away? Informative and beautifully illustrated. Feel like you are peeking into winter hiding places of animals and creatures that seemed to disappear. Of course, this would be perfect to read with Kate Messner‘s Over and Under the Snow

Under the Snow #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Jumping Penguins illustrated by Marije Tolman with text by Jesse Goossens

This is a gorgeous and engaging animal concept book – I featured it this week in my Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday post. An amazing blend of facts, whimsy and wonder.

Jumping Penguins #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

What if you had Animal Hair? written by Sandra Markle and illustrated by Howard McWilliam

I bought this on a whim with a Scholastic order because I recognized Sandra Markle as an author of lots of nonfiction. I was very pleasantly surprised when I tried out a page with my own children and they insisted we read the whole book. And then we had to look through it all again and choose which animal hair we would most like to have. Lots of information about animal fur and hair – told in an engaging way and connected to our everyday life. For example, did you know that . . .

If you had three-toed sloth hair, you’d never be alone. Because of the algae, your hair would be home to many different kinds of harmless insects.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Frog and Friends: Frog Saves the Day written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Josee Masse

I continue to be impressed with this set of Frog and Friends titles. This one has two distinct stories inside featuring lots of adventures with the animals that live near frog. This title features a dramatic rescue and some serious confusion about what exactly a train might be. Lots of pictures, interesting dialogue and well told stories.

frog saves the day #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

 The Vengekeep Prophecies written by Brian Farrey

I read this aloud to my children and it was often difficult to put it down and enforce bedtime. Gripping, full of adventure, magic and the perfect blend of humour and fantasy to keep both of my eleven year old listeners (one boy, one girl) captivated. This is really well done fantasy. It is fresh with many unexpected twists and turns. We loved the main character – a mediocre (at best) thief from a long line of thieving tricksters, the Grimjinxes, Jaxter Grimjinx has heart and morals that one might not have expected. Lots of action. Many disasters. Ethical choices. And magical and fantastical creatures that surprise, amuse and astound. My children instantly asked if there is more of this Brian Farrey writing out there to feast their curious eyes upon. Both were thrilled to hear that there is a next title: The Shadowhand Covenant. If I was the prophecy kind . . . I would say for certain that there will be more time with these characters in our read aloud future.

Vengekeep Prophecies #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Living written by Matt de la Pena (One of my #MustReadin2014 titles)

While this is fast paced and full of action, I don’t recommend anyone bringing this along for a vacation read. I would not want to be in a boat, near a boat, near the ocean, on a beach or anywhere tropical and islandish when reading this book. In fact, I think if ever I might have taken a cruise, this book might have convinced me not to! I had to start there because this book has a lot of OMG scary disasters and survival. It also has mystery, deception and dystopian themes thrown in. And at this point, I can say no more without giving away important plot points. Well written YA fiction for certain!

The Living #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Next up? I am reading Marie Lu‘s The Champion to finish the trilogy. After this, I think I will read Far Far Away by Tom McNeal. I have started Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo with my children. So, so good! With my new Junior Book Club at school, I am reading Charlotte’s Web .

Reading Goal updates:

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 8/100 novels complete

Goodeads Challenge: 79/650 books read

#MustReadin2014: 5/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 30/65 complete

Happy Reading to all!

Monday April 15th, 2013

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Mon Reading Button PB to YA

Join Jen and Kellee’s meme and share what you are reading from picture books to young adult novels. The #IMWAYR community consistently has wonderful suggestions if you are looking for new book ideas! This week, I read everything from board books to adult novels.

A little “bookish” news:

I was thrilled to have a post about my student book club on the Nerdy Book Club blog this week. Click here if you would like to read it. I appreciated all of the comments and enthusiasm for the joys of sharing the love of reading with groups of students.

I also appreciated being mentioned in Assistant Superintendent Shelley Burgess’ (@burgess_shelley) blog post: Becoming Leaders of Readers Thank you Shelley for including so many links back to my blog (posts that detail favourite books)! I always love talking and recommending books.

My reading this week . . . 

I am currently collecting board books to set out when the Ks come up for buddy reading. Board books I read this week and added to our bin:

Hooray for Fish! by Lucy Cousins Bright, colourful engaging! Would love to use this as an inspiration for buddy art making . . .

Hooray for Fish

Hello, Doctor written by Michael Coffier and illustrated by Matthieu Maudet Seriously clever. If a board book can make you laugh in just a few pages, you know it is good.

Hello

I’m the Biggest thing in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry Loved watching my Grade 2/3s try this out on their little K buddies. They were so excited to see if it had registered that the giant squid continued his boasting from inside the whale. Adorable!

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I read a number of fantastic picture books this week. Too many to narrow down so my reviews are brief!

The Other Side written by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by E.B. Lewis This author/illustrator combination create absolute magic. So much in one little picture book with huge implications for discussion. A fence that represents the division of race becomes just a fence at the end of the story when a whole row of girls perches atop it. I want my own copy of this book.

The-Other-Side_Large

Me Want Pet written by Tammi Sauer illustrated by Bob Shea Definitely cute but when kid tested, it gets a better response. My own children laughed and laughed. Obviously the urging a parent for a pet is an age old issue 🙂

Me Want Pet

Chloe, instead by Micah Player An amazing book to share with a child dealing with conflicting emotions about a new sibling. Simple, bright and effective.

chloe instead

The Museum written by Susan Verde and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds As always Peter H. Reynolds makes movement and magic on the page. Such a wonderful celebration of art. I am not a total fan of rhyming text but the playful, joyous images allowed me to get over being slightly irked . . .

The Museum

Everyone Can Learn to Ride a Bicycle by Chris Raschka I know not everyone loves  Raschka but I really do. Few words are used and they are barely needed – the illustrations relay all of the emotions, pride and accomplishment in the process of learning to ride a bike.

everyone-can-learn-to-ride-a-bicycle

The Red Hat by Lita Judge Basically wordless but tells such a story. Wow. Playful and smile provoking.

red hat

Oy Feh So? written by Cary Fagan illustrated by Gary Clement Sometimes a picture book is great because kids will like it but adults will love it and will therefore read it with so much expression and joy that it is enjoyed all the more by the listeners. Thus, it becomes elevated to “better” after the repeated, happy readings. Read this book. You will see what I mean.

oy feh so

A Leaf Can Be . . . by Laura Purdie Salas and illustrated by Violeta Dabija Wow. Stunning imagery. Turns the imagination up to high.

leaf can be

All of these wonderful picture books and . . .  I still had some time to read and finish some amazing novels.

One Crazy Summer written by Rita Williams-Garcia 1968. California. The Black Panthers. Civil Rights. Three little girls who need to know about their mother. I loved the relationship between the sisters and everything about Delphine. An important read. I can’t wait to share with kids. Thinking a future book club book . . .

one crazy summe

The Runaway King written by Jennifer A. Nielsen Oh, did I set the bar high with my children! We finished this Saturday and on Tuesday we have tickets to see Jennifer Nielsen in person! This is a read aloud/book experience that I doubt I will be able to match. When reading this aloud with my children I must admit there were times I wanted to continue reading after I sent them to bed. Had to use a lot of self-restraint not to do so! This book continued the high drama, adventure and intrigue that we loved in The False Prince. We are big Jaron fans. My son finds his spunk hilarious and we are continually impressed by his loyalty, quick thinking and brilliant plans. We loved many other characters too – Imogen of course and also Fink. We are now very anxiously awaiting the third book in this trilogy.

The Runaway King

Little Bee written by Chris Cleave I don’t often read adult novels. Not sure if it is that they sometimes just feel too heavy . . . I had heard a lot about this title though and was glad to read it. The highlight of the book is the narration (in her sections) by Little Bee herself. Strength. Survival. Resilience. She is immersed in all of it. Hard to discuss any aspects of this novel without giving away important plot points. I did love the message that collecting and telling stories can save us. I believe this fully.

Little Bee

Next up? I’m reading my children Listening for Lions by Gloria Whelan which is the book I am doing with my student book club. Love this title! Tonight I will start Requiem by Lauren Oliver. I feel in the mood for some dramatic fantasy. I’m sure this will deliver.

What are you reading?

Monday September 10th, 2012

It’s Monday! What are you reading? Link up to Jen and Kellee’s meme and share what you have been reading from picture books to young adult selections!

It was back to school this week which has meant more reading to others and less time for my own quiet reading. Which is just fine! I am so happy to be reading to students again!

I just posted (here) my first read alouds. Humour helps to ease the first week’s anxiety so these books bring plenty of  smiles and giggles! We shared Chloe and the Lion, You’re Finally Here and Bink and Gollie: Two for One. 

Other books I read aloud:

The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds It is International Dot Day on September 15th. (Read more here) I shared this book with my class and we spent the next half hour getting creative and sharing our dots! Low stress. High engagement.

This Plus That written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by  Jen Corace. I find that when this book is read aloud, everyone gets kind of quiet and reflective. Thinking about connections and how things relate. I love the effect.

Other picture books I’ve enjoyed this week:

A Poke in the I, a collection of poems selected by Paul B Janeczko and illustrated by Chris Raschka I would pick this book up just because Raschka is one of my favourite illustrators, but this book is worth exploring for many reasons. I love the variety of ways words and poems are presented. What inspiration for students!

Necks out for Adventure written and illustrated by Timothy Basil Ering I am a big fan of Ering’s Frog Belly Rat Bone so when I saw this book on a Monday reads list, I was intrigued.  A few weeks later I was searching through a box of donated books and I found this book! It is quirky and odd in the best of ways. Can’t wait to share it as a read aloud.

Delicious (A Pumpkin Soup Story) by Helen Cooper I love books that have another sub-plot going on somewhere else on the page via the illustrations (think Phoebe Gilman’s brilliant Something from Nothing). While persnickety duck keeps rejecting soup flavours, the industrious bugs invent ways to capture the rejected flavours. As a parent, I certainly connected to the picky eater aspect of this story!

I only finished one novel:

The Apothecary written by Maile Meloy. I don’t want to say much about this book because it has so many mysterious twists, I’d hate to give anything away. I thoroughly enjoyed it! Part fantasy, part mystery, part historical fiction, many parts adventure . . . You can’t really go wrong with his title.

I just picked up Kristin Cashore’s Bitterblue from the library (have had it on hold for months!) so that is the book I delve into next!

My picture book 10 for 10 for 2012

Picture Book Love!!

This is the first year I am participating in the Picture Book 10 for 10 event hosted by Cathy from Reflect and Refine: Building a Learning Community and Mandy from Enjoy and Embrace Learning.

Any opportunity to celebrate a love for picture books, count me in!

Of course I could have listed hundreds but I tried to select the first ten that came to me. My list for 2012:

Pete and Pickles by Berkeley Breathed. Oh how I love this book that celebrates love! I gushed about it here. This book is quite possibly my favourite picture book ever. And that is really saying something!

The Giant Seed by Arthur Geisert. Geisert is a master at telling a beautiful and whimsical fantastical story through a wordless book.  How the pigs happen to be saved from volcanic disaster is a reason to share this story many times. Gorgeous.

Stuck by Oliver Jeffers. I really liked this book on first read. But after sharing it with my class I quickly grew to love it. My students went crazy for this book! Read more here. This book read aloud in a classroom of book lovers is a force to be reckoned with.

All the World written by Liz Garton Scanlon and illustrated by Marla Frazee. This book could be read daily and one would never tire of it. I have blogged about it before: “The images are comforting, saturated with details and evoke our own memories attached to the experiences suggested by each picture. These pictures are so easy to connect to, I felt like I had taken a journey through some of my own most happiest of memories.”

Hunwick’s Egg written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Pamela Lofts. I have blogged about this book before as it is one of my favourites: “Hunwick’s egg never hatched although it provided him with companionship, faith and an important secret. Yes, he realized his egg was not an egg at all but a perfectly shaped stone and he loved it all the more. This book is beyond endearing and my heart lifts just pulling it off the shelf.”

The Gardener written by Sarah Stewart and illustrated by David Small. It is wonderful to have historical fiction wrapped up so beautifully in this illustrated book. My own children wanted to study this book again and again.

House Held up by Trees written by Ted Kooser and illustrated by Jon Klassen. This book celebrates the power of nature and how we are naturally drawn to it. Efforts to keep it at bay are often futile. Nature finds its way. This book is stunning.

Leaf by Stephen Michael King. A story of the friendship between a boy, a dog and a plant. Simple, sweet, endearing. The best thing about this book? It is nearly wordless – the only text  – sound effects – Whooosh, Boing, Sploosh, Glurg glurg .

Hello Goodbye Window written by Norton Juster and illustrated by Chris Raschka. The vibrant colours in this book are pure joy! I love the celebration of the relationship between grandchild and grandparents. “Hello World! What have you got for us today?” We still quote this line frequently in our house!

Wilfred Gordon Macdonald Partridge  written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Julie Vivas. A favourite of mine for years. Every time I read it aloud to a new group of students I sit back and enjoy their discussions of all the special kinds of memories. A book every house and classroom should own.

Using Wordless Books in the Classroom

I have been using wordless books with a lot of success in my primary classroom this month. The next book I plan to share with the class is A Ball for Daisy which won Chris Raschka the 2012 Caldecott Medal.

How are wordless books used in our classroom?

Every morning we start our day at the carpet and “read” a wordless book together. Of course there is no text so we tell the story as a group as we turn the pages. Before we begin, we review our strategies for reading wordless books. This is what students typically share:

“We need to infer.”

“We look at the pictures for clues.”

“We pretend that we are the author/illustrator and think like he/she does.”

“We have to use what we already know about stories.”

“We use our background knowledge.”

As we turn the pages, students share their observations. I find this is such a fantastic opportunity to build oral language skills. Students need to listen to others and build on ideas. They have the chance to disagree and offer alternative suggestions. They extend their thinking as the class offers sugestions. My role is different from what it usually is as I sit with a book in my hand and children at my feet. I am completely guided by their pace. I repeat specific statements and ask for more thinking. I ask probing questions like, “What made you think that?” “Do you see something on the page that made you suggest . . .?” I also rephrase certain comments so as to correct grammar, extend vocabulary and provide positive feedback. Many childen that don’t often share in discussions about books have been avidly participating. It has been a very exciting and creative process.

I then leave the wordless book of the day on display with other recent ones we have shared. This is what I see at different points of the day:

*Books are shared when reading volunteers come in to listen to children read. Children who have often asked the volunteers to read to them, choose a wordless book and “tell” the story. Volunteers have made comments to me about the child’s confidence, his/her use of interesting vocabulary and about the engagement with the story.

*Wordless books are selected when our little K/1 buddies come up to read with us on Wednesday afternoons. Because our Grade 2/3 class has more students than the K/1 class, often two of my students read with one little buddy. This week I saw a little boy in kindergarten sandwiched between two of my Grade 3 boys and all of them took turns talking about and telling the story as they turned the pages. My boys were even modelling my questions, i.e. “So why do you think he’s sad?”

*Children are choosing wordless books off the shelf during quiet time and sitting with a classmate and whispering as they turn the pages. I see lots of flipping back and forth as they turn back looking for a specific picture, verify information and then resume the story. Also during quiet time I have two girls who are making their own wordless book. They sit side by side drawing pictures and talking about their story.

*There is also a transfer of “attentiveness to detail” as we read other picture books in class. Many comments and questions are about the illustrations and details noticed in the pictures.

As we celebrate illustrations and study them for additional information, I am reminded of a blog post by author Shannon Hale called Let them Eat Pictures. Hale stated:

“Our world is full of visual cues. Illustrations are symbols, just like letters are symbols. We look, we read to understand, to decode the world. Literacy, I think, is the ability to glean understanding from printed information. In order to navigate this world successfully, kids (and adults) will need to be literate in words and pictures.”

Wordless books give us the opportunity to practice inferring and looking for evidence to support an idea – comprehension strategies that we use with any kind of book – from picture books to novels.  I am excited to continue using this beautiful genre of books in my room.

For more wordless picture book titles, check out more posts on this blog.

Wonders of Wordless Magic and Few Words on Five Wordless Books

Little Black Crow

We were very inspired by the gentle repetitive text and muted art in Chris Raschka‘s book Little Black Crow. This book begins with the question Little Black Crow, Where do you Go? and goes on to ask 26 more questions all inspired by the wondering of a little boy who spies a crow up in the sky. Simple, engaging, lovely to read again and again.

We took pencil to paper and practiced making crows in Raschka’s style and went on to create art pieces and added our own “mini poems” also borrowed from Rashka’s style of wondering verse. Finished pieces look gorgeous.

Below is Sergio‘s poem.

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Some students, like Khai, chose to use bright colours as a background.

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Others were inspired by the paler colour scheme Raschka used in his book.

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Truman really captured the loose lines that come together to create a charming crow in Raschka’s style.

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